Prior to working at the BTO, he spent 20 years as a lecturer in biological sciences at the University of Dundee. He is also president of the European Ornithologists Union. He is also an honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham's Centre for Ornithology. He was responsible for publishing the two largest surveys on British bird populations.
Since 2000, he has been a trustee of The British Birds Charitable Trust, which publishes British Birds magazine On retirement from the BTO, he took up an honorary professorship with the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, at the University of St. Andrews.
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, "for services to conservation".
- BTO Press Release 19 March 2007 Archived 12 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 4 February 2009
- British Birds. 100 (4): 257. April 2007. Missing or empty
- "(Editorial footnote to) The Origin of the Birdwatching Term "Jizz"". British Birds. 111 (5): 292-294. May 2018.
- Birmingham University
- Charity Commission register entry for British Birds Charitable Trust
- "No. 58557". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2007. p. 7.